It was a beautiful crisp Colorado morning. A few clouds dotted the sky and a cool breeze rushed over my face. My daughter had just completed her last performance as senior drum major in her high school marching band and emotions of pride, joy, and also sadness had rushed to the surface. As I was leaving the stadium to join my daughter, I heard a voice, “Hey Little Dash of Love” call out behind me. As I turned around, I saw three woman walking my way. None looked friendly. Confused I paused. They were calling out the name of my blog so I wanted to acknowledge them, but their demeanor told me the encounter wasn’t going to pleasant at all.
Once they reached me, they began tearing me down verbally. A week before I had blogged about their bands show without mentioning its name. http://alittledashoflove.com/off-your-rocker/ I believed at the time, and continue to believe, the show was incredibly insensitive to those who suffer with mental illness. My blog was written to bring awareness not harm.
Unfortunately, the women didn’t understand the intent behind my blog and wouldn’t give me an opportunity to explain it. Instead they viciously attacked me. When you blog, you have to be ready for people to disagree with what you write. You can’t be thin-skinned nor can you be easily offended. However, when one woman decided she would go for the jugular and attack my son who struggles with mental illness, I realized I was no longer dealing with disagreement. Instead, I was dealing with bullies whose demand was compliance (Take my blog down) or they’d make our lives miserable.
When did our world become so ugly?
As I walked away from the encounter, I was utterly undone. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like a middle schooler who wanted to run home to my mommy. The tears just kept flowing. I went to my car and cried for over 40 minutes. Finally, I pulled myself together and with a red, tear-stained face I headed back to the stadium determined to see my daughter’s last Drum Major Retreat. Watching her receive the 10th place state trophy for her school band was one of the most joyful moments in my life. Yet, in the background my mind was still overwhelmed by the hurtful and crushing words those women spoke. One line in particular hurt the most
I hope your son rots in an asylum just like the one in our show.
That night, I took my blog down defeated. At that time I believed it wasn’t worth the fight.
And then, I spent yesterday praying.
Being an Advocate
Being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is not for the weak of heart. It certainly is not a road for those who can’t take a little controversy or absorb pain in the name of justice. Advocacy must be done without shame. It is a journey designed for those who are willing to walk roads that require courage and boldness. It also demands grace and forgiveness. Standing for what is right often asks that a personal price be paid.
If I fold the first time my advocacy is deeply painful, then all the years in the refining fire were for not. I can’t do that. I can’t quit. I have to press on. I have to stand tall, learn, grow, develop and find new strength.
So, today, I edited Off Your Rocker and reposted it. I stand by that blog.
Additionally, I’m taking back the power I allowed those woman to take from me. I gave them permission to decide for me what I would and wouldn’t do. I allowed them to rule over me. In weird sort of way, I submitted to them Lordship of my life. They can’t have that. Only God can have that friends.
Long ago I gave Jesus my life and only He determines the road and steps I take. Years ago, when He blessed me with my precious tiny 2 pound 2 ounce little boy who someday would be diagnosed with autism, intellectual disabilities and bipolar, He set the path of advocacy before me. No one can take me off that road but God himself. I’m committed to walk that road faithfully, to the best of my ability. When I stumble, I know He’ll help me and when I fail, I know He will forgive me and help me find my way again. It is my God-given calling and I will walk it without shame.
As I rested and prayed this weekend I realized what steadies me is my relationship with the Lord. It is He that leads me and comforts me. So to close, I share one of my favorite songs. It is, indeed my heart song. I hope if you’re having a difficult week where you are feeling weak and vulnerable you will find comfort in it too.
My love and always by His grace,